There are a number of Fraternity and Sorority chapters on the Texas Tech campus students can choose to be a part of. Joining Greek life potentially offers students ways to get involved on campus, grow life-long friendships and make connections later in life.
Garrett Michelsen, a senior finance major from Plano and a member of Pi Kappa Alpha, also know as PIKE, said without PIKE, he would not have been able to have an instant group of friends in college.
"I’m not saying without Greek life you can’t have that, but it definitely helped me a lot by having a group of friends to grow with in college,” he said.
His fraternity was an easy way to meet a lot of cool people, he said, guys who hold each other accountable and allow that individual growth.
“My first semester in PIKE, I was with a group of guys that I barely knew because we had just met, but we were pledge brothers, and we decided to take a surprise trip to Palo Duro Canyon,” he said.
Talking all night and getting to know one another was an impactful experience during his four years that he often looks back on, he said.
Those individual smaller moments with the guys where everyone is hanging out and able to connect fast without fully knowing each other is huge, Michelsen said.
Being a part of a fraternity has not been difficult to juggle with other organizations, he said. It has been the opposite.
“I wouldn’t be in the organizations I am without PIKE," he said. "I wouldn’t have the access to Student Government Association, Mortar Board or a lot of the other organizations that I joined if it weren’t for PIKE and the people in the fraternity that encouraged me to get involved."
Getting involved in Greek life also helps students with their academics, he said, because fraternities encourage earning good grades.
“It helped me in my classes so much that I am able to graduate with honors," he said. "It didn’t discourage it, if anything it definitely boosted my grades.”
It also creates job opportunities for the future, he said. There are many internship opportunities that can come from employers knowing a fraternity or sorority.
“My first job at Red Raider Camp, the person who gave me a good recommendation was a PIKE, and he was instantly able to understand me better and know what my values are, and that instantly helped set me apart as a candidate."
His second internship, working in Washington, D.C. for a congressman, would not have been possible if it were not for the person conducting interviews being a former PIKE member, he said.
Every summer, there was a career opportunity because of PIKE, and all the opportunities Greek life has brought, he said.
Elizabeth Hart, a junior human development and family studies major from Houston and the chapter president for Kappa Kappa Gamma, said after leaving Tech, her commitment will continue to have an impact throughout a lifetime.
The impact is not only going to last the four years at college, but it is a lasting impact that will be taken into careers and years past graduation, she said.
“Being a part of a sorority has opened the door to being more confident in who I am," Hart said. "It’s really pushed me outside of my comfort zone.”
Being in a sorority is instantly being surrounded by many women, she said. It is incredible to be pushed and encouraged by those women to be the best version of a person possible.
That first week of school and moving in is intimidating, she said, but knowing there are other women who have gone through it or are going through the transition of college as well is more comforting, because everyone relies on each other.
“When I graduate, it will definitely be a transition into not having that support system anymore," Hart said, "but it’s prepared me for knowing what kind of women I want to surround myself with."
Tye Parker, a junior marketing major from Allen and the former president of Pi Kappa Alpha, said he was the first person in his family to join a Greek organization. Both his parents were against it, he said, because they thought it was just about partying.
It is not all about partying, he said, rather joining a fraternity helps students grow.
“I really wanted to throw myself into an uncomfortable situation where I didn’t know anybody, and you’re forced to make new friends," he said. I’ve been able to meet people from all different walks of life.”
Tech has a large student population, he said, so when first coming to college, it is easy to sit in the dorm rooms and not meet anybody.
It is important to get out there and meet people or invite other people to different activities, which is what guys do for each other during pledge ship, he said.
“I think Greek life has a bad stereotype, and a lot of people think of it as paying for your friends, but I would recommend it to anybody,” Parker said.
It is not always for everybody, but students should at least go through recruitment and give it a try, he said. There are 26 fraternities on campus right now, and there is usually one for everybody.
“I will miss the undergrad portion of it, but I know that becoming an alumnus doesn’t mean that you lose the fraternity," Michelsen said. "You’re in another step of the fraternity, and I know I’ll still be welcomed back as a brother, so that’s the glory of being a part of Greek life.”